IACC suspends Alibaba in wake of membership revolt

Alibaba logoThe International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition (IACC) has placed a hold on Alibaba's membership after a third leading brand-owner defected from its ranks.

Alibaba became the first intermediary company to join the IACC under its new 'general member' category, but the news that Tiffany has joined Michael Kors and Gucci America in withdrawing from the group seems to have prompted the backtrack.

Alibaba had subsequently been joined by luxury goods reseller The RealReal Inc and online retailer as general members, and these have also been affected as the entire category has been suspended.

IACC governance in the spotlight

The move also follows media reports that IACC president Bob Barchiesi owns shares in the Chinese e-commerce giant and - by the IACC's own admission in a letter from its board of directors - the organisation did not properly follow-up on this potential conflict of interest.

"This failure to disclose was not attributable to inaction on Bob's part," says the letter, which adds: "We believe that Bob's performance and accomplishments as president have been exemplary, and he has the board's full confidence and support."

The organization says it is hiring an independent firm to scrutinise the implementation of "corporate governance measures, internal controls, policies, procedures and by-laws to ensure that they meet the highest standards."

The suspension comes hot on the heels of an announcement from the IACC that it had expanded a MarketSafe counterfeit listing takedown partnership with Alibaba.

Embarrasingly, the latest development comes just a few days before Alibaba executive group chairman Jack Ma is due to deliver a keynote speech at the IACC 2016 Annual Spring Conference in Orlando.

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